Tom Latham, New Zealand’s stand-in captain for their canceled Pakistan tour, acknowledged and thanked the Pakistan authorities for ensuring players’ safety. He also admitted that NZC’s decision to pull out of the tour citing security concerns was "very disappointing" for Pakistan fans.
New Zealand’s white-ball series against Pakistan was called off minutes before its start in Rawalpindi last week, with New Zealand Cricket citing security concerns. It would have been Black Caps first tour of the country since 2003.
Tom Latham looked back at the “interesting 24 hours”, as he credited the officials to ensure that the contingent reached Dubai safely.
"It was like a normal game day," Latham told New Zealand's in-house media channel from his hotel room in Dubai. "We were leaving at 12:30, and then I got a message on my WhatsApp group that we were having a team meeting at 12 o clock. Everyone was sort of wondering what was up and then we got told the news that we were heading home.
“It was an interesting 24 hours post that decision but obviously NZC and the Players Association, everyone on the ground in Pakistan and NZ Cricket obviously had players' safety first and foremost. For them to get us to Dubai in 24 hours was outstanding so the guys were very thankful for that."
Pakistan’s home season has been dented significantly, after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), too, called off their men’s and women’s white-ball tour of the country.
Latham admitted that New Zealand missed being a part of “something special”, that of them playing international cricket in Pakistan after almost two decades. He thanked the local authorities for their efforts in ensuring the visitors’ safety, much to everyone’s relief within the group.
"It's naturally very disappointing for them [Pakistan and their fans]," Latham said. "It was something they were very proud of. I remember doing the captain's round with Babar [Azam] the day before and just seeing how happy he was to have international cricket and have us there. He was very excited and it was a historic moment for New Zealand Cricket to be back there 18 years since they were last there. To be part of that was going to be something special, but obviously things changed. NZC acted swiftly along with the people on the ground in Pakistan. While we were there after the decision, the Pakistan authorities were brilliant. They kept us safe at the hotel and we certainly need to thank them.
"We managed to get to Dubai 24 hours after the decision was made. For the guys to connect as a group and spend a bit of time together was nice. It was a hectic 24 hours but we're all good, the guys are in good spirits and we're looking forward to getting home.
"It was a pretty hectic 24 hours once we found out we were heading home. The guys dealt with it all slightly differently but we stayed tight as a group over there in those 24 hours we had in Islamabad. For us to be here and to be safe, the guys were certainly very pleased to get here."